Former Mission resident Brian Robinson was at West Heights elementary last week reading to a class. He also donated a copy of his book to the school library.

Former Mission resident Brian Robinson was at West Heights elementary last week reading to a class. He also donated a copy of his book to the school library.

Author conquers own fears

Manfred Under the Bed the newest book at West Heights library

By Maria Spitale-Leisk

Record contributor

 

Brian Robinson’s wildest childhood dream came true last week: the book he wrote is now available for checkout at his old elementary school library in Mission.

Rewind the clock to some 25-odd years ago — and you find Robinson roaming the hallways at West Heights Elementary School. Inside his backpack are creased notebook doodlings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers.

The amateur animator soon began writing little stories about central characters in his own life, namely his tabby cat.

“I would staple the pages together,” recalls Robinson, from his home in Coquitlam. “I even talked to the librarian at West Heights [elementary] about how to get [my books] into the library.”

The artist of his class, Robinson went on to study computer animation in college. High-profile gigs with Electronic Arts and local film studios soon followed.

Robinson was in heaven.

All the while, an unrelenting pounding in his head would routinely show up unannounced — chronic migraines, inhibiting Robinson from concentrating on his work. After a valiant effort trying to ignore the colossal headaches, it eventually sidelined him from animation.

“That’s the career I always wanted to do,” says Robinson. “It was hard to step away from.”

Now, with nothing but time on his hands, another nagging surfaced: that long-lost goal of becoming a published author.

The storyline played out right in front of him every night when Robinson would put his daughter Brienna to bed.

“If her closet door was open she would say that her clothes looked like monsters,” explains Robinson.

In order to help Brienna conquer her fears, her dad would have to get past his own apprehensions about self-publishing.

The words and illustrations were committed to Robinson’s laptop during pitstops on his way back to Vancouver from Quebec. At one point there was a tornado — the dark clouds providing ominous inspiration for a story about a monster.

Every so often he would check in with Brienna for quality control. The monster he was 3D modelling on his computer had to be the perfect combination of scary and goofy.

Robinson later illustrated ‘Manfred’ the monster by hand, to further challenge himself.

“I’m trying to teach myself that if I face my own fears that they are not going to be as bad as I think they are,” he says.

That mantra appears in his now-published children’s’ book, “Manfred Under the Bed.”

“For a fear that you face is a fear that you beat. You face that big fear; crush it under your feet.”

Manfred is portrayed as a wide-mouthed monster with sharp teeth and matted fur that smells of burnt tires — juxtaposed by a doe-eyed, pyjama-clad Brienna clinging to her teddy bear.

Life came full circle for Robinson when he returned to West Heights last week to read to the West Heights students.

Another fear of his was conquered that day.

“Any kind of public speaking that I have done in front of adults I get nervous; butterflies in my stomach,” says Robinson. “These kids were just so accepting. They said ‘wow he wrote a book and now he is reading to it us.’”

Manfred Under the Bed is available through amazon.ca and Robinson’s website at brian-robinson.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
Abbotsford care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Morning mist clears over the Hope Slough at Camp River Road on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Sunny skies in the forecast for Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Rain and wind expected Sunday night through Monday morning, then clear skies

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

web
Spiritual senior begins journey as author, 3 years after near-fatal accident in Mission

Donna Gibbons to publish ‘Haunting in Hatzic,’ the 1st in a series on her life as a medium

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Elissa McLaren broke her left elbow in the Sept. 20, 2020 collision. (Submitted)
Surviving victims of fatal crash in Fraser Valley asking for help leading up to Christmas

‘This accident has taken a larger toll financially, mentally and physically than originally intended’

Most Read